Professors adapt to new LMS: Classes

Miaira Raiford, Contributing Writer

“Change happens and we all must adapt,” said Maria Luskay, undergraduate professor and graduate program director, in regards to the transition from Blackboard to Classes.

In 2020, Pace students were notified that a new LMS platform would be taking over beginning in 2021.

Classes includes more steps than Blackboard did in terms of navigation, but does offer a wider range of functionality. Such as keeping track of a student’s completed work or allowing private messaging to another student or their professor.

However, a new learning management system meant professors had to adapt from teaching with Blackboard for so long. According to Dr. Susan Maxam, Academic Technology, namely John Blackwell, offered “robust training and resources to all faculty, which included synchronous and asynchronous workshops; video repositories; training documents; and one-on-one assistance” as needed.

“All new platforms take time to learn,” she said. “I was very grateful for the various forms of training as they were invaluable to me—and by extension, my students,” said Maxam.


The timing of the change in particular bothered many. As the switch took place in the middle of an academic year and in the middle of a pandemic.

Luskay believed the transition could have been a whole lot smoother.

“It certainly kept me busy, in the house and at my desk,” she said. “I wish they would have waited and kept Blackboard to the end of this academic year and then given us a fresh new outlook with a new LMS in Fall 2021.”

Over 50 faculty members taught on Classes as a trial in the fall . Computer science professor, David Sachs was on of them.

“I think that Brightspace/Classes provides a somewhat cleaner interface. It is quick and easy to do most things, and they seem to offer a lot of functionality that goes beyond what Blackboard provided,” he said.

Blackboard had particular features exclusive to its platform, and the same thing goes for Classes.

“The interface and built-in templates make it easy for instructors to design courses, create content, and grade assignments. I was able to create my courses in a short period of time,” Maxam commented.

“I taught three classes last fall using Classes and felt that the students did just fine,” Sachs said. “Some things had to be explained, but once they were explained, all went well.”

“It is going to take a while to get used to it. Blackboard was intuitive, Classes is not,” Luskay said. “As I learn more, I like it more, but it is going to take a while. I cannot say I love it, but I never loved Blackboard, either.”